Bill and Kylie ganged up on Kat and declared that Christmas 2022 should have an “Experience” theme. But as it turned out, Kat’s Christmas experience was terrible. They should have known it was a bad idea.
It started out in early December when Kylie talked about a new app that could organise a family Kris Kringle. The app randomly drew names for each family member to buy one present for one other family member. That annoyed Kat from the start. It meant she would only be getting one gift. It also meant she could only shop for one gift. Bah humbug!
Kat was under pressure from everyone else in the family to join in, so she rolled her eyes and agreed to the plan. Kylie was relieved and reminded Kat, “Remember Mum that it’s an Experience theme.” Kat rolled her eyes again.
Things got worse immediately. The app paired her with boring old son-in-law Bruce. Ugh, he would be hard to buy for. Why couldn’t she have drawn Tiffany’s name?
There was one good thing about the app though. Each gift recipient could list up to three gifts they would like to receive. Her mind went to town on all the things she’d like to receive. She did wonder what experience Bruce would come up with. It was bound to be boring. She still hadn’t forgiven him for claiming she’d given him food poisoning that one time.
Kat focused on her wish list. She pictured herself laying in the bath with a new fluffy robe hanging on the bathroom door and one of those cool bamboo bath caddies. In her imagination, the bath caddy held a glass of wine and a scented candle. “Luxury Bath Experience” went on the list.
Next on her list, she wrote “High Tea Experience”. She’d spotted a lovely three-tiered cake plate in a catalogue and could just picture it on her dining table, along with a new lace tablecloth, and her serving Violet and wiping that smug grin off her face. She’d be sure to leave the catalogue open at the right page whenever family visited. Surely, they would get the hint.
Finally, she added “Library Experience”. There were at least a dozen books she wanted to read. That should make it extra easy for whoever drew her name. If they didn’t get her bath robe, bath caddy, the cake plate or tablecloth, at least they could give her a voucher to her favourite bookstore.
Having filled out her wish list, her mood was improved, and that evening discussed the process with Bill. Bill confided that he had drawn Tiffany’s name. He also said that Tiffany’s list comprised only one thing, written three times over. It was “Harry Potter Experience”. Tiffany had talked of nothing but the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play for weeks. Kat immediately jumped in to help. “Oh, Bill that’s sweet. I can arrange the perfect Harry Potter Experience for her. Leave it to me.” Bill was uncertain but didn’t want to crush Kat’s spirit, so reluctantly agreed that she could get the tickets. What could go wrong?
The next day Kat checked the app to see what Bruce had wished for. He wanted a Fishing Experience (yuk!), a Paddle Boarding Experience (oh good grief!) or a Movie Night Experience. Now that she could work with.
Christmas Day rolled around. Bill had convinced Kat to take the caravan and enjoy Christmas at Kylie’s for the first time ever. It was relaxing not to have to cook. And she didn’t have to spend a whole day clearing off the dining table.
But if Christmas was supposed to be about experiences, you’d think Kylie would create a more festive experience on the day. Frankly her effort was pitiful. Her tree was lovely and tasteful, and the table was nicely decorated, but it ended there. Where were the lawn decorations? Where were the Christmas-themed tea towels? Over the years Kat had bought Tiffany many books about Christmas. Kylie could have at least brought those out Luckily Kat had decked the caravan’s halls. She could lay her head on red and green tartan pillows at night and feel Christmassy.
After lunch, they all gathered around the tree to exchange gifts. Everyone emerged with their gifts. Kat was the only one who had brightly coloured gifts to share. The others all held sad looking plain white envelopes to hand over. Was she the only one who truly understood the meaning of Christmas?
They decided to receive their gifts in alphabetical order. Bill was first. Bruce handed him an envelope which contained a voucher for Gold Class movie tickets. Bruce said, “Haha you and I must have the same taste. I wished for a movie night experience too, so I knew just what to get you. Maybe we can go together.” Kat wasn’t too sure about that. How ridiculous. Tickets for one night out. Bruce could have bought a box set of movies for that price.
Bruce was next to receive his gift. Kat handed over a large parcel and Bruce looked confused. “This is interesting”, he said. He undid the wrapping to find a popcorn maker, four popcorn buckets and a DVD of Steel Magnolias. “Um thanks. Is this my movie experience?”
“Yes”, Kat grinned, feeling like she’d nailed it.
“Um, we don’t have a DVD player anymore.”
“Oh well, maybe we can get you one for your birthday.”
Kylie and Bruce exchanged looks. “What?”, said Kat.
“Never mind”, said Kylie. “Here Mum. I got you a luxury spa experience.” Kylie handed Kat a plain white envelope. Inside was a voucher for a massage and facial. Kat’s face fell.
“What?” asked Kylie.
“Never mind”, said Kat.
Kylie pressed on. “It’ll be nice to treat yourself. I also signed you up to the local library. That cost nothing, so I thought I’d give you two gifts.” Kat shook her head.
Tiffany could feel the tension rising in the room, so quickly leapt to her feet to hand Kylie her gift, another plain white envelope. It was a voucher for high tea at a fancy hotel. Kylie was thrilled. “We can go together. Thanks Tiffany!”
Tiffany was last to receive her gift. Kat handed Bill the glossy gift bag, so that he could present Tiffany with her Harry Potter experience. Kat was so pleased that she’d taken control of the situation. Bill would have wasted money on tickets to a play. Meanwhile, Bill felt pure dread. He realised he was about to disappoint his granddaughter and he had no one to blame but himself. He should never have let Kat have her way.
Tiffany put her hand into the gift bag and brought up a pair of Harry Potter-themed pyjamas in Ravenclaw house colours. She went in again and brought out a figurine of Hermione Granger. A third dip in brought up a mug with the Slytherin crest on it. She looked into the bottom of the bag and saw nothing more. She tipped it upside down, but nothing fell out. She looked at Bill with tears welling up in her eyes.
Bill glared at Kat. Kylie followed Bill’s gaze and realised what had happened. Bruce caught on and soon everyone was glaring at Kat. They were all furious, except for Tiffany, who was simply heartbroken.
“What?”, said Kat.
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here.